1 Peter 3:8-12

Read 1 Peter 3:8-12
I believe one of the most difficult commands in all of Scripture is found in 1 Peter 3:9. ‘Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.’
 
It’s within our human nature to seek revenge when we have been wronged. We want to even the score so that we feel better about the insults or evil demonstrated towards us. Yet rather than repaying insults with insults, or evil with evil, the Bible calls us to repay them with blessing.
 
In 1999, Gladys Staines experienced an unimaginable act of evil. Gladys, her husband Graham, and their children were missionaries in India. They served at a shelter that cared for those suffering from the incurable, skin mutilating, contagious disease. One night while Graham and his two sons were sleeping in their car outside of a village, an angry mob trapped them inside and set the car on fire, killing both Graham and the two children. Yet, only by God’s strength and grace, Gladys never sought to repay this evil with evil. Instead, Gladys chose to continue to work at the shelter for lepers, which later turned into a hospital. Gladys said ‘I have only one message for the people of India. I’m not bitter. Neither am I angry. But I have one great desire: that each citizen of this country should establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave his life for their sins … let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.’ This is amazing.
 
Though many of us will never face this type of evil, we have all been insulted and hurt deeply in a variety of ways. In this passage we are ALL called to respond with a blessing. Whether it’s evil or an insult, our response is to be a blessing. This means when your spouse speaks sharply to you, you chose a kind response rather than an insult. When your friend gossips about you, your response is to speak well of them both privately and publicly. Or when your faith is mocked, you respond with grace and kindness.
 
Though remembering Gladys’ story is encouraging, it’s not enough to help us in the face of evil or insult. The only one who can help us overcome our fleshly desire to repay evil with evil is Jesus. We look to Jesus for strength because he responded to insults with blessings. Jesus didn’t repay evil even when he was beaten, betrayed and crucified. We can ask him for strength in the midst of the most difficult experiences.
 
Questions for reflection:

1.  Is there a situation this week where you have experienced evil, or a personal insult?
2.  How can you respond when those closest to you treat you with disrespect or disregard?
3.  Take a moment to pray that God would give you a heart like Gladys, one that repays evil with a blessing.
Jay Quick | Student Ministries Director

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